Do Less and Give More

On his podcast, Your Own Best Company, my friend Franklin Taggart invited us to reframe this busy season as a time of abundance. To remember that all this chaos is really proof of a bountiful harvest. That our focus on friendships, jobs, and families has paid off, and we are surrounded by people and things we love, and who love us back. I needed to hear that. This is the only time of year I’m forced to turn to spreadsheets and to-do lists just to keep up on everything I need to get done, and sometimes I get a bit grumpy about that.

But this week marked our statewide giving day, one of my favorite days of the year. There are several nonprofits and charities I support time and again, and always one or two new ones I’ve discovered. I’ve donated to causes I care about ever since I was a child. Even when I was dead broke in college, I’d drop a couple of bucks in the Salvation Army bucket or hand a dollar to a veteran in exchange for a silk poppy. Giving makes me happy.

And this time of year reminds me there are so many ways to give and also to receive. And while I often wish we could spread some of the madness out across the rest of the year, when I’m truly present and not rushing around, I can appreciate the magic moments. Like yesterday, when I gave one of my health care providers a gift, and she opened it before my eyes as if were the greatest thing she’d ever received.

In order to be more present, I decided to stop trying to do it all. This year, I started shopping earlier to avoid the overwhelm; my husband and I put up minimal decorations at our house; we no longer make cookies, now that there are no kids at home to eat them, etc. Those were just our choices; they do not need to be yours.

But what can you do differently this year to take some of the pressure off and really lean into the spirit of giving to yourself and others? Giving is giving, no matter how big or small. Whether you write a large check to a favorite charity or drop a few coins in a tip jar; whether you buy your presents or make them by hand; whether you go to every party or skip a few to get some extra rest, it’s all good. Sometimes a well-placed smile or word of praise is as important as a perfectly wrapped gift.

Call on your creativity this season to celebrate your own harvest of abundance and to weed that to-do list down to only the things that matter most this year. You can always come back to any of those things in later years, if you want to. Or not. It’s all good, because it all comes from a place of love.

Happiest of holidays to all. And to those who need a little extra receiving this year, may we see you and hold you in our hearts and hands.

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